Grand Budapest Hotel: Dream life of a lost Europe

For some Wes Andersons’ films may be a bit like marmite. You either love them or hate them. Anderson has a distinctive style. They are immediately recognizable. They are films of the rarest kind these day: auteur in every aspect of their production but which attract big name actors and command enough of an audience to justify distribution deals within mainstream circuits. I’ve wanted to see The Grand Budapest Hotel [TGBH] for a while. Its recent slew of BAFTA nominations spurred me on to finally doing so. It’s madcap, whimsical, stylish and thoughtful. There are outstanding performances from everyone – bit player to key role, from A-lister to a child on a screen debut with a tight plot line that revels in farce –  royally served by pin sharp performances and moment after moment of meticulously enacted screen action. TGBH simultaneously evokes a melancholy backward gaze to a Europe of old. A Fin de siecle Europe of manners and grandeur already in passing – of wistful, poetic time as we might perceive it, handed down through literature, politics, manners, music, art and war. And much of this is personified in the main character of M. Gustave played with acrobatic precision by Ralph Fiennes. Gustave is a man of contradictions: a refined, etiquette obsessed concierge who slips into coarse language under pressure; a self interested hedonist in daily life but in the exceptional circumstances of the plot displays courage, kindness, nobility and charity. Throughout he is a man of wit, humour and poetry. Not unilke Anderson himself. Perhaps the trick they are performing is not so disimilar either.  Smuggling some old world values into what can often seems to be a more compromised contemporary experience. TGBH will appeal to anyone who’s allowed themselves to be romanced by European culture from a time different from our own. Who’s ever fallen in love with a Europe of old seen through the dream life of stories.


Stress Re-leaf

B19 Terrace Garden Narcissus viridiflorus 197401832A

Stress Re-Leaf – interested in the therapeutic value of nature and music?

I am. Made a film. Tomorrow. Cambridge. At 5pm.

Cambridge University Botanic Gardens – Voicing The Garden Project

Hora Chilena!

Come watch, support, enjoy and be moved by this brilliant new film about the Chilean diaspora experience. Could you be so kind to strangers today?

Screening at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse today – buy tickets and see other screening dates here:

Hora Chilena – Documentary




Nearly Networked

I have changed the name of this blog to reflect a broader self remit.  AI wills this blog will be used for posting materials relating to two new modules I’m teaching this coming academic year which I’m very excited about – The Networked Image and Creative Writing. More coming soon.

Narrating The Self in Film, Fiction and [other] Transliteral Media

An informal presentation of past film work and current research at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge Campus as part of

‘In this level 3 Creative Practice seminar session Sarah will put some of her past film work in to context and present some of her current research.

Sarah Gibson Yates is a writer and filmmaker interested in how we read, write, interpret and interact with representations of Self in a variety of media. She has made both fiction and non-fiction films in a variety of contexts including galleries, museums, festivals and schools, taught filmmaking to students of all ages and engaged the public in range of community and professional film art practices. More recently Sarah has been exploring the way social technologies are changing the way we present ourselves online through social networking, and in particular the notion of profile making as a form of ephemeral portraiture, and the personal, social and ethical consequences of indelible digital identities. She has written a novel exploring these ideas that has been funded by the National Lottery through the Arts Council and developed through the new writing scheme Gold Dust with Sally Cline, and is undergoing final editing with her agent. Seed development funding was also awarded to explore some of these ideas through a publicly engaged workshop. Her paper on this creative research work in progress is shortly to be published by Intellect’s peer-reviewed journal Book 2.0.’